dental care


Baking soda for teeth whitening

by Carlos Beckum, answer by the Dentist
(Detroit, MI)

There are several myths and opinions about how to whiten your teeth on your own, that is, without professional help from your dentist or your dental hygienist. People have tried tea, different acids, strips to place over your teeth, a number of abrasive agents - and baking soda. Baking soda for teeth whitening will be discussed here, as a reader has a question about this:

Is baking soda better for brushing teeth than toothpaste?

Baking soda for teeth whitening can never replace daily toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride is the most effective way of fighting decay. Some toothpastes contain mild abrasive agents (especially toothpastes for smokers) that can lighten you teeth, that is, remove stains from the outer surface of your enamel.

Well, let's go back to the baking soda. First of all, we need to find out what baking soda is and why some people use it to whiten or lighten their teeth. Baking soda is a chemical compund called sodium bicarbonate or NaHCO3. It dissolves easily in water, and is commonly used as a baking agent in cakes. Baking soda can give your teeth a whiter appearance by removing stains and plaque that are embedded on the tooth surface and in surface crovices. Baking soda can dissolve into these areas and a chemical reaction will make some of the stains go away. This way you can say that baking soda does help to lighten teeth.

On the other hand, if your teeth are discolorated ”in the deep”, that is, not only on the outer surface, due to tetracycline use in your childhood, genetic defects, chronic caries lesions, or obliterated teeth, baking soda for teeth whitening will not help you. In these cases the only way to really whiten your teeth is either through professional teeth whitening or treatment with veneers or crowns. Be aware that the American Dental Association suggests that you do bleach your teeth in the presence of your dentist. Nevertheless, some people can see positive results from trying baking soda for teeth whitening, so you have to make up your mind whether or not to try if baking soda is the agents that can lighten your teeth.

If you want to try baking soda for teeth whitening, you can follow the recommendations under. This is not to be done on a daily basis! Once or twice a month is enough. Be aware that baking soda can dissolve orthodontic glue, so you should not do this is you wear braces.
1. Dip your toothbrush in baking soda so it covers your brush. Be careful not to use too much baking soda.
2. Brush for a couple of minutes. Do not brush too hard, and use a soft toothbrush.
3. Spit and rinse your mouth with water.
4. Brush with fluoride toothpaste afterwards. This will protect your teeth from cavities.
5. Use tooth floss or other equipment to clean the area between your teeth.

Good luck with trying baking soda for teeth whitening!

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